University of Wisconsin–Madison


We Are the Women Who Defied the Odds

Women have always been a force to be reckoned with throughout history, and yet their stories are often left untold or forgotten. From warriors and revolutionaries, to inventors and scientists, women have defied societal conventions and made invaluable contributions in every field imaginable. This session will explore the amazing achievements of women throughout the ages and how their courage, creativity, and resilience can still teach us lessons today.

But to be clear, this talk is not about Cleopatra or Coretta Scott King, or Marie Curie. Rather, it’s about all the ordinary women whose remarkable stories and achievements are often overlooked: the seamstresses and farmers, inventors and scientists. It’s about how these women defied convention and battled prejudice to achieve incredible things. I want to invite you to explore our own family histories to discover stories of strength that have been passed down for generations. Stories of mothers who sacrificed everything for their children’s future; grandmothers whose hard work kept families afloat during difficult times; great-grandmothers whose wisdom taught us valuable lessons about life.

As women, there is an innate connection between us and those who came before us that stretches beyond years – you exist infinitely in both directions through time! Let’s take a few moments to explore this lineage stretching back generations – because understanding where we come from gives us strength as individuals and empowers us collectively.

Learning Outcomes

  • Be able to speak to the achievements and contributions made by women throughout history.
  • Learn strategies for connecting with our own histories and exploring our family.
  • Walk away with techniques to help you use family history as a source of strength, wisdom, and empowerment.

About the Keynote Speaker

Dominique Luster, Archivist, Researcher, Storyteller

Dominique is one part archivist -one part researcher, with a dash of genealogy for taste. After working at universities, libraries, and museums across the United States for nearly a decade, she understood that history is not merely a listing of events in chronological order, but, rather a meticulously curated phenomenon of power. All too often, the stories of marginalized communities are suppressed, oppressed, erased, or forgotten. Dominique’s research seeks to support those communities by helping individuals and organizations uplift, honor, and tell stories that represent the lived experiences of diverse voices and the Black diaspora.

The Luster Company